The Best Albums of 2013

Here are my top thirty albums of the year. Tracks from many of them are in the post below.

1          John Murry – The Graceless Age

2          Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red

3          Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

4          Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

5          Kanye West – Yeezus

6          Arctic Monkeys – AM

7          Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

8          Arcade Fire – Reflektor

9          Tamikrest – Chatma

10         David Bowie – The Next Day

11 Roy Harper – Man And Myth

12 Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting The War

13 Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Sunny Day

14 Jason Isbell – South Eastern

15 Rod Stewart – Time

16 Sigur Ros – Kveikur

17 The National – Trouble Will Find Me

18 Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time

19 The Stepkids – Troubador

20 Haim – Days Gone By

21 Caitlin Rose – The Stand In

22 Suede – Bloodsports

23 Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady

24 Pet Shop Boys – Electric

25 James Blake – Overgrown

26 Billy Bragg – Tooth and Nail

27 Mogwai – Les Revenants OST

28 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

29 Lady – Lady

30 Boz Scaggs – Memphis

Since my old chum Mike has published his top fifty, here are my 31-50. Not in any kind of order, as some – like Bill Callahan or Beyonce – I haven’t listened to enough yet: had I done so, they may have made the top 30. The top thirty is based purely on how much I’ve enjoyed stuff, not how ‘important’ or worthy I consider the album to be. Some of the next twenty – like the first one – feel more than a year old. Others, like John Grant or Richard Thompson, have some outstanding tracks but aren’t consistent enough for me to rate them more highly as whole albums.  And the last album – no 51 – contains some rerecordings but I had to mention it anyway. Matthew E White – Big Inner, Beyonce – Beyonce, White Denim – Corsiciana Lemonade, Luke Haines – Rock And Roll Animals, Elton John – The Diving Board, Basseke Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Jama Ko, Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest, Laura Cantrell – No Way There From Here, Linda Thompson – Won’t Be Long Now, Jonathan Wilson –  Fanfare, Savages – Silence Yourself, Bill Callahan – Dream River, Primal Scream – More Light, Richard Thompson – Electric, Mavis Staples – One True Vine, Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost, Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio, Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II, John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts, Anna Calvi – One Breath, Charles Bradley – Victim Of Love, Glen Campbell – See You There.

Any of the top 7 could have been an album of the year, I think, but here’s the opening track from the one I’ve enjoyed most, one that I only started listening to late in the year but is, I’m sure, a keeper: The Graceless Age. Not for everyone, but if you like Americana, Warren Zevon or dark confessional songs with strong hooks, I urge you to check John Murry out.

John Murry – The Ballad Of The Pyjama Kid


3 Replies to “The Best Albums of 2013”

  1. Ever since I began collecting music, I’ve looked to the past. Hence my interest in Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Black Sabbath, etc. Music that is older than I or made when I was a child. Even when I got interested in more modern and even contemporary groups, it’s been ‘after the fact’ e.g., I picked up on the Jesus and Mary Chain round the time they folded. For various reasons, I have no interest in the “music of the now”. BUT I will try to give a listen to some of your Top 30. Very well-written blog – I want to find and read “The Unfortunates, thanx to you :-). Keep on bloggin’

  2. Thanks for commenting, Arthur. That’s a tricky one, second guessing posterity. There are albums I’ve put at number one that I’ve hardly played since. My guess would be that 2 and 3 will last well, probably 4 too, while 11 and 18 may well outstay much higher entries. But I’d be interested in what you think when you’ve checked some of them out! Best 500 of all time? At the moment, I’d say the top 3, but then, I would, wouldn’t I?

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